Jessie Vargas: A ‘younger lion’ who wants it more
It’s not just the age where Manny Pacquiao is ahead of Jessie Vargas.
Vargas is Pacquiao’s junior by a decade, and in terms of titles the 27-year-old still has a lot of work to do to catch up.
Pacquiao has a total of 10 titles across eight divisions—the most by any boxer in history—and was lineal champion in four weight classes.
Vargas, meanwhile, has the WBA World super lightweight and the WBO World welterweight titles across his name
But the disparity in gold doesn’t deter the “young lion”— a nickname Vargas’ trainer Dewey Cooper coined—from going up against one of the greatest boxers in history.
“He’s had a great career, but I’m here to beat him,” said Vargas. “I hope the best Pacquiao shows up, no excuses.”
“Him and Floyd [Mayweather Jr.] are the best (of this generation), but there is always that younger lion who wants it more.”
That young lion will take his chance against an established pride leader on Nov. 5 at Thomas and Mack Center for Pacquiao’s return fight and it’s for Vargas’ WBO title.
Making a name
Vargas first made ripples in boxing ocean when he beat Khabib Allakhverdiev for the IBO and WBA World super welterweight titles, making up the latter part of a win streak that would go on until November of 2014.
It was at the Cotai Arena in Macau when Vargas took a unanimous decision victory over Antonio DeMarco to retain his WBA World super welterweight title and up his streak to 26.
Vargas, though, got his first taste of defeat against someone who is familiar with Pacquiao, and that man is Timothy Bradley.
Bradley showed his class against an outmatched Vargas and Desert Storm promptly took the interim WBO World welterweight title as a prize for his troubles.
And with Bradley foregoing a rematch against Vargas to fight Pacquiao for a third time, no.8-ranked welterweight was given another shot for the WBO belt and he took it by scoring a TKO victory over Sadam Ali in March of 2016.
The big prize
Pacquiao, after all his triumphs, is at an age where he’s now the target of up-and-comers.
He’s boxing’s most decorated person and anyone who’s given an opportunity to fight him is automatically given a shot at destiny.
Vargas may not make huge leaps in the welterweight rankings, let alone the pound-of-pound list.
And his defense of his WBO title, which is considered as the fourth best behind the WBC, WBA, and IBF, is now seen as a mere formality.
If Vargas beats Pacquiao, however, the ripple that he made back in 2014 may very well turn into a tidal wave in the latter part of 2016.
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